Match funding a ‘massive’ help for postgrads

A lack of funding can prove a serious barrier to postgraduate study, so we are fortunate to have generous donors who match student support provided by other University institutions. This year 13 first-year postgraduate students at Wolfson are benefitting from these match-funded studentships and scholarships.


three students

Senior tutor, Dr Susan Larsen, said “We have worked hard to increase the number of match-funded studentships we are able to award, as we know this enables the very best students to pursue their PhD research here at Cambridge.”

There is no understating the impact of this funding. Bersal Williams (PhD, Clinical Neurosciences) received funding from an anonymous donor who has previously supported 12 PhD studentships in the Sciences. Bersal works in the Dementia Research Institute at Addenbrooke’s Hospital. “My project is trying to use intracellular mechanisms of immunity and target them towards the clumping proteins that may lead to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. The impact of this funding is massive — without it I probably wouldn’t be here. It’s allowing me to do what I love.”

Kenneth Okwor has received the Rowan Williams Cambridge and Wolfson College Studentship to help fund his PhD in the Faculty of Law. This studentship was established to support students who face severe barriers in coming to study at Cambridge. Kenneth is designing a legal and institutional framework to support West African efforts to establish a single currency. He said, “with this funding the only thing I have to contend with is my studies and research. I really have the presence of mind to study”.

Land Economy PhD student Vassilis Gkoumas received a studentship match-funded by the ERC FIDELIO project, which explores the social impacts of protected areas. He says, “Last year I experienced the challenge of being a student and managing two jobs in an expensive city. I am very appreciative of the fact that at Cambridge I am allowed to focus entirely on my research, which I am confident will be reflected in the quality of my work.” Vassilis is currently on fieldwork in Greece studying the social and economic impacts of National Parks on local communities.

Vassilis Gkoumas
Vassilis in Wales

At the Judge Business School, only those with full funding are able to pursue a PhD. Thanks to a studentship from the Judge and Wolfson, Luna Luan (PhD, Management Studies) is researching organisational behaviour, the psychology of the workplace and how goal orientation affects people’s motivation. She heard about the College and funding on offer from the Business School, which prompted her to switch Colleges for her doctorate. “I am really grateful to the School and the College for funding my PhD”, she says.

The College is delighted to announce the creation of several new match-funded PhD studentships for 2021 with the Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience and to work with the Department of Pathology on one of several projects.

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